Finally, the garden bed that many of you have been waiting to see…the tomatoes! Tomatoes are easily the most popular garden vegetable, and most visitors to our garden want to see how our tomatoes are doing.
We don’t have a theme for the tomatoes this year, other than trying to have a range of varieties showcased.
We do, however, have a few different caging / staking / trellising methods planned. As you may have noticed in the Bed 2 plans and again with this bed, we will be featuring one of our A-frame trellises over the walkway again this year. We are also growing a couple other tomatoes on a trellis in the bed. Then we have a determinate tomato in a cage, and the remainder of the varieties (both determinate and indeterminate) using the stake & weave system with metal posts and twine.
Trellises: On the trellises we are growing some cherry / saladette type tomatoes.
‘Verona’ is a variety that is similar to ‘Juliet’ but is reputed to be slightly larger and more flavorful.
‘Esterina’ is a gold cherry tomato that has high yields and good crack resistance.
‘Lucky Tiger Cherry’ is an elongated, green-striped cherry tomato with a red blush. It has a sweet-tart flavor.
Caged Determinate: ‘Early Doll’ is an early maturing (55 days) variety with 4-5 oz. fruit.
Stake & Weave: We are showcasing several different types that will demonstrate how the system works for different sized plants. We are planting two of each variety.
‘Beefy Boy’ is a red, hybrid beefsteak that we had in the garden last year. It yielded well, but had some cracking issues. 12-16 oz. fruit. Indeterminate.
‘Tiren’ is an Italian hybrid that is similar in shape to the heirloom San Marzano, but is earlier and higher yielding. 5-6 oz. fruit. Indeterminate.
‘Goliath Original’ is a highly disease resistant hybrid with 10-15 oz. red fruit. Indeterminate.
‘Orange Slice’ is an orange colored beefsteak with fruit up to 16 oz. Indeterminate.
You may find it hard to believe that we jump right in to planning our Demonstration Garden the first week of the new year, but we do! This allows us plenty of time to plan, order seeds, start seeds, and get everything growing in the garden in a timely fashion.
Our Master Gardener Demonstration Garden committee met this past Tuesday to start the planning process and decide what the themes are going to be for our garden beds this year. We always have fun thinking about new things we could try growing.
Here is our overall garden plan for the 2016 garden:
Bed 1: Peppers are the Herb of the Year, so we will be showcasing a wide variety of peppers this year. We will also do some leafy greens in the spring and fall in a “quilt block” pattern.
Bed 2: There are so many new purple vegetables, herbs, and other edibles that we thought it would be fun to do an all purple garden.
Bed 3: Tomatoes! We don’t know yet what we will showcase, just that there will be tomatoes.
Bed 4: We will be featuring some Oriental vegetables that can be grown successfully in Kansas – some common, others not so much.
Bed 5: Our popular herbs & pollinator flowers garden will be moved to Bed 5 for this year.
Bed 6: Root vegetables – some old favorites, but also possibly some less- common roots.
Bed 7: Grape vine and thymes
Bed 8: Perennial herbs
Bed 9: We thought it might be fun to try Hops in advance of 2019 when it is Herb of the Year.
Bed 10: Plants from the Zingiberaceae (Ginger) family, such as ginger, cardamom, galangal, turmeric, etc.
Accessible Garden/Containers: We are going to feature some of the new “compact” or container-type tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and more. We may also try out a new salad table design from our Hort Therapy committee and make a “pallet” garden like those that have been so popular on Pinterest and Facebook last year.
As you can see, we have some exciting things coming your way this summer, so stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks!
We all enjoyed the Herbs & Flowers for Pollinators garden so much last year that we decided to reprise it this year. One major difference this year is that we reduced the planned number of plants because things were a bit crowded last year.
Like I said, very similar to last year. The main differences are some different varieties of Zinnias, different varieties of Autumn Sage, and moving things around a bit. We also are using parsley and cutting celery on the front edge of the bed and added a Pineapple Sage as well.
We had our first planning meeting this morning, and I wanted to share with you a sneak peak of what will be coming this year. Our theme for the year is “simpler is better” for a number of reasons. We are still going to be trying some fun things, but nothing as crazy as last year!
As you can see, this doesn’t tell you much. I think the two things that a lot of gardeners are going to be very interested in are the varieties of squash that are “supposed” to be more resistant to squash vine borer and squash bugs, as well as how we grow the parthenocarpic zucchini (don’t need pollination to set fruit) under row covers to prevent squash vine borer damage.
We will be doing more detailed planning of these areas over the next couple weeks, so I will be sharing more about our plans as details are available.
Last year we had a Pizza Garden, this year we have a Salsa Garden. The thing that is kind of fun about the Salsa Garden this year is that we are doing it in Bed 10, which is one of the (ostensibly) 4′ x 4′ gardens. Lots of home gardeners plant gardens that size, but we usually use our small beds for miscellaneous things rather than for a themed garden. For instance, Bed 9 has horseradish and rhubarb.
Bed 10 is actually 4’6″ x 3’10”, so not quite square. It doesn’t really change anything important though, because we still had to be very judicious with how we used the space.
‘MiRoma’ is a red roma tomato that yields 5 oz. fruit on a determinate plant.
‘Golden Fresh Salsa’ is a yellow roma tomato with 3-5 oz. fruit, also on a determinate plant. The fruit are supposed to be very meaty without lots of seed gel (locular gel!) that can make salsa runny.
‘Chichimeca’ Jalapeno is a larger pepper with a kick of heat to it. We didn’t want a jalapeno that didn’t have any spice! This pepper is large for a jalapeno, with fruit about 2″ wide and 4″ long. It also is supposed to start producing earlier than other jalapenos.
For the onions, we decided to use the rest of the bunch of ‘Red Marble’ cippolinis we will be planting in the Italian garden in the spring. We will follow with probably the bunching onions from the Italian garden in the fall.
The cilantro will be planted in the early spring and once it blooms and goes to seed, we will pull it out and replant in the fall. It’s kind of a bummer that cilantro won’t grow during the peak tomato season here, but if we still have tomatoes in September, that will work out okay.
Stay tuned for a little bit more about the herbs and flowers!